Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10th Grade Gabe Goes All Intertextual on Measure For Measure

Gabriel Llanas

English 10

Mr. Elieff

April 22, 1994


Measure For Measure Intertextual Essay


            In order to demonstrate the wisdom of Shakespeare in his play Measure For Measure I will break off a piece of intertextual analysis up in this mug as we were asked to do for this assignment.

            The Duke in this play is a meddler who is too chicken to enforce his own laws in Vienna and leaves the responsibility to Angelo and Escalus. But then he comes back disguised as a friar and messes with everybody. He shows that Angelo is a hypocrite for being lustful even though he tried to execute Lucio for that same crime. And then the Duke himself tries to marry the most virtuous nun-in-training Isabella.

            Guys like the Duke think they know it all and can push everyone around and then act like they’re so smart and heroic. The Duke (disguised as a friar) gives some terrible advice to Lucio while he is sitting on death row for having sex with his fiancé out of wedlock and getting her pregnant. Lucio is waiting to hear how is sister did when she went to beg for his life from Angelo and the Duke tells him:


Be absolute for death: either death or life

Shall thereby be the sweeter. (3:1)


            The Duke basically goes on to say that Claudio should want to die because life sucks so much. Then at the end, he says this interesting thing:


Thou hast nor youth nor age,

But as it were an after-dinner’s sleep

Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth

Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms

Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,

Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,

To make thy riches pleasant. What’s yet in this

That bears the name of life? (3:1)


            The Duke is saying that when you’re young you want the riches of old age, and when you’re old, the riches are no good because you don’t have your youth. Life is pointless because you can never have everything that you want. Or as Sebastian the Crab would say: “The seaweed is always greener, in somebody else’s lake.”

            Debbie Downer in the house.

            Now check this, E-Dog. When I was in 5th grade I read the Chronicles of Narnia, and in the last book they talk about Queen Susan, who wasn’t invited to live in Aslan’s land at the end of Narnia, because she was no longer a friend of Narnia. She could not remember it. When the others would talk about it she would say, "What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.” (Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 154)

Then Polly observes:


"She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can." (Lewis, p. 154)


            Susan lives in the small overlapping time in life when your youth is at its apex and you have all the trappings you need to be happy. The Duke thinks there is no overlap, and that you are always wanting one or the other. The outlooks are nearly similar, but if the Duke really believes there is no overlap then he is doomed to melancholy.

I just got my braces off, I possess a headful of mad-wavy hair that the young ladies can’t get enough of, I may have acne and no car or driver’s license, but I don’t give a care. It’s like Bill and Ted say: “The best place to be is here, and the best time to be is now.”

            Or even better look at what Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray:


“You have the most marvelous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having… Someday when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly. Now, wherever you go you charm the world. Will it always be so?... Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!” (Wilde, The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, p.186-187)


            This speech leads to Dorian Gray living a life of lechery and sinful abandon that gets reflected on his magical painting while his youth is preserved on his face. Susan is kept out of what is essentially heaven in the chronicles of Narnia and Lucio who actually did break the law is saved from punishment by the Duke, who seems to have orchestrated this whole thing just so that he could appear benevolent and hook up with the virginal Isabella.

            As you may be aware I sit on Judiciary Board, and when Sasha and her roommate Karin came before the J-Board for disciplinary action, I was all up in that case. Sasha – as you know – is a grade-A hottie. The two of them had snuck off campus one weekend and gotten busted. They got off pretty easy with a dormed weekend when they could have gotten suspended, but I made a point of being the strongest advocate for fully pardoning their trespasses. So when it came time for their dormed weekend guess who was playing truth or dare up in their dorm room until lights out?

            Somewhere there’s a painting of me dissolving into monstrosity.

            I guess I don’t blame the Duke for playing everyone like he did. I mean, he’s probably just a sucker with low self-esteem who needs to flex the few muscles he has every once in a while in order to impress the ladies. So what if he’s not going to get invited to Aslan’s land. Between you and me, Mr. E, I’d rather kick it on planet Earth with the Susans and Sashas and milk these silly days for all the sweet young nectar they’re worth. Peace.

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